Breguet (Swiss, founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1775)

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Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, who established the business in Paris. The company still operates from Switzerland, making Breguet one of the oldest surviving watchmaking establishments worldwide.

Of Swiss descent, Abraham-Louis Breguet studied watchmaking for ten years under Ferdinand Berthoud and Jean-Antoine Lépine before setting up his own business. The connections made during his apprenticeship as watchmaker and student of mathematics helped Breguet to establish and promote his business. Breguet quickly gained a reputation as one of the most skilled watchmakers in France and before long was introduced to the French court. Following this meeting, Queen Marie Antoinette became fascinated by Breguet's unique self-winding pocket-watches; legend has it that she commissioned the watch that was to contain every watch function known at the time - Breguet's masterpiece, the Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI was equally charmed by Breguet’s skill and bought several of the company’s watches.

Breguet’s firm was an international success. In 1807 Breguet took on his son, Louis-Antoine, as his partner, renaming the firm Breguet et Fils. Together in 1810 they produced the very first wristwatch of all time, marking a huge innovation in the world. The company changed hands several times in the 1970s and 1980s before being acquired by its current owner, the Swatch Group, in 1999. Today, Breuget remains an internationally recognised brand and one of the leading luxury watchmakers in the world.